Outspoken Klenski pushes political limits

  • 2005-08-31
  • By Ksenia Repson
TALLINN - One of Estonia's most outspoken politicians, Dimitri Klenski, grabbed the political headlines last week by creating his own election ticket after his Centrist faction colleagues in the Tallinn City Council repudiated the Russian-speaking politician from their list.

On Aug. 25, Centrist faction leader Elmar Sepp announced that the party had decided to strike Klenski off its ballot for the latter's caustic remarks to both the mass media and the City Council. Sepp stressed that Klenski's opinions, which include adopting bilingual council sessions, were in no way reflective of the Center Party's official line.

Klenski also denied most Centrist resolutions and breached council rules by repeatedly speaking Russian on the council floor.

The faction's decision was discussed at length, and the fact that Klenski no longer wished to run on a Center's ticket in the forthcoming elections was also a factor, Sepp said.

After forming his own list, Klenski held his first group meeting on Aug. 19, where the decision was made to participate in elections, ratify a political program and adopt a group emblem. The group has reportedly considered running without the assistance of other Russian political associations, such as Citizen Initiative 2005.

The ticket, Klenski said, will be designed to solve the problems of the ethnic Russian population and to follow an effective policy for the country's minorities.

However, the Tallinn electoral commission decided not to register Klenski's ticket, according to a ETV news report on Aug. 27.

Toomas Sepp, head of the Tallinn Electoral Commission, said that the ticket, which was supposed to enter elections under transliteration of the name Spisok Klenskogo ("The Klenski list"), violated the language law.

In his opinion, the name may deceive the electorate.

Klenski retorted to the commission's conclusion by wondering how, for example, Res Publica could hold office in Tallinn, as that particular name held nothing in common with the Estonian language. It was ridiculous that the language law was not implemented in that case, he said.

Klenski is demanding that a legal expert examine the issue before the commission writes an official refusal. The list's name could possibly be changed, he noted.

The politician, however, has very little time to act, as the last day to file candidate lists is Sept. 6.

Thus far, however, Klenski has had a string of legal successes. He has appeared in court at least seven times, winning each case.

One of the newly formed polictical organization's first goals is to dedicate territory near the Bronze Soldier monument in Tonismagi to Soviet troops.

Klenski expressed surprise over the fact that Tallinn authorities could find enough money to take care of a monument for SS soldiers while almost ignoring a memorial significant to Russians.

"The Centrist faction announced at the beginning of this summer that it pressed to include 400,000 kroons (25,600 euros) into the city's current budget for the restoration of the Bronze monument," Klenski said. "Still, nothing has been done yet."